Supporting the Patient Experience from the Start
In almost every aspect of daily life, businesses compete for consumers’ attention and loyalty. Restaurants, retailers and even mobile service providers know that the consumer has countless options to choose from and can run to a competitor if they can get a better experience for the price elsewhere. That’s the nature of our on-demand digital economy.
But while some industries are used to a highly competitive landscape, others are only recently feeling the pressure and adapting their strategies accordingly.
One such industry is healthcare.
A Competitive Market
For years, patients would make provider decisions based on location, referrals and insurance directories. For example, a patient experiencing headaches or blurred vision might get a referral to see the local optometrist or the closest one listed as “in-network.” But today, patients have an abundance of choices – from the local eye care specialist to the optometrists and ophthalmologists on the roster of a regional health system. Even at local shopping centers, patients can walk into a Warby Parker or LensCrafters to get an exam, a prescription and even a pair of glasses or contact lenses on a random Saturday afternoon.
How does a health system, hospital or specialty practice stand out in an increasingly crowded market? Just like with restauranteurs and retailers, it comes down to experience. Healthcare organizations need to create a patient experience that combines the comfort of high-touch, personalized service with the confidence that comes from engaging with a modernized, efficient, well-run practice. Of course, the first priority when creating that optimal experience is ensuring the best possible patient care and outcome. But a close second should be building patient loyalty and driving a strong and growing business.
Considering HCAHPS Scores
Another case for investing in the patient experience? Reputation. The fact is, patients are more than willing to share their experiences, good or bad, with friends and family. Today, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Service (CMS) issue the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS), a patient satisfaction survey that collects feedback on every aspect of the patient experience, including communications with physicians, nurses and staff, pain management and the discharge process. As noted in a recent HIMSS article, the results are publicly available and easy for patients to access. Moreover, the government issues financial reimbursements based on survey scores, so negative perception could impact an organization’s reputation and bottom line.
So we know investing in the patient experience is essential to a successful and thriving practice. The question is where to focus first. More staffing? Office expansion? New services?
The answer is at the very beginning – that very first impression. The patient experience starts from the moment of introduction when the patient schedules their appointment.
Elevating the Patient Experience
Rather than force anyone through an old-fashioned set of processes and checkpoints of telephone messages and clipboards, successful health systems, hospitals and specialty practices adopt technology like Clearwave to automate, streamline and personalize patient engagement.
With Clearwave Scheduling, patients can schedule an appointment 24×7 using the device of their choice.
The system can even conduct eligibility verification and collect payment at check-in, letting the patient expedite the administrative portion of the experience and ensuring complete accuracy and transparency at every step.
Most importantly, the right patient engagement system will free your staff of paperwork and manual processing. They can give their full attention to the patients and create a comfortable and reassuring environment where patients can focus on their health.
The health systems, hospitals and specialty practices that will thrive in the years ahead are the ones prioritizing the patient experience today. They understand that patients have a choice just as when purchasing a car or going out for dinner. Only in this case, it’s a choice with much greater consequence. That’s why patient experience matters most.
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